Lots of readers are struggling to find cost-effective ways to get their vintage appliances — stoves, fridges, stovetops, dishwashers — repaired safely and cost-effectively. Atomicbowler-dave recently provided this advice, which is in synch, I think, with successes other readers have had:
Where to turn to get your vintage appliances repaired? Dave suggests:
I can’t help but wonder on the parts issue… There are certainly times and places where a certain amount of substitution and reverse-engineering of sorts can go a long way.
Certainly, no one should monkey in places they are unsure or uncomfortable when it comes to items that could cause fire, shock or injury.
One thing I have observed, experienced and often engaged in…whether with boats, obscure foreign and antique cars, old equipment, appliances, etc…is a certain amount of mix-and-match and/or artful adaptation. Where there is a will, there is often a way.
I am often leery myself of too much advice bantered about via the internet as one really can’t see, meet or know the source and get a solid feeling for the person’s real acumen.
I’m a big fan of solid, experienced, local people if they can be found. I am an even bigger fan of the “old guys”–most of whom are by now retired or gone on away–who collected the tribal knowlege and also came from an era more imbued with need and willingness for make-do. Heck, most of the ‘ability’ or ‘knowledge’ that I have? Whatever it is that tends to put me in the topkick roles professionally? I learned it from old guys who are now gone, most of it…or at least the foundation that I’ve had to build my own on. (Before my head sounds swelled, let me say that when I get compliments, extra respect or whatever in these jobs, I hold private feelings of unworthiness…because I know who the real hotdogs were, and that I’m not half of them. Just that they’re gone, and that I listened to some of them when they were still around.) The sad part is that I only learned bits and pieces of what these fellows spent decades learning!
My point here–and I do have one–is that in dealing with obscure and obsolete things it can often be best to seek out the retirees or the guys that just keep their hands in part-time…if at all possible. These fellows are usually of the type to know both what TO do and what NOT to do, but also have the historical background to say ‘Hey, I bet I could make the kanooten valve from xyz item work in here’.
If you can find this sort of ‘professional’ help, it’s likely the best of all. There can be some great personal benefits for everyone, too. Good luck with those appliances, I sort of envy your present challenges as I don’t yet have my own cool kitchen to cope with!
Thanks, Dave. I love the idea of finding retirees or long-time, hometown shops that have a real history with old appliances and are willing to patiently work though the issues with you. I can’t recall exactly – but I *think* it was Gretchen in Sacramento who also recently reported success with her Thermador cooktop working with a smaller, local shop. (Gretchen, am I right? Can you weigh in?) So it can be done. Meanwhile, Precautionary Pam weighs in: Work with licensed professionals. Do not mess with stuff you don’t understand. Empower yourself with your own thoroughly researched knowledge about safety and environmental issues in your vintage home.
Finally, the awesome photo gets an explanation: Dave and Laura go by the handles here of atomicbowler-dave and atomicbowler-laura. What a pair! Dave explains that Laura’s favorite colors are turquoise and pink, so he bought here this new (vintage-look) bowling ball last year for her birthday.